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This article is the authors’ final published version in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 42 - 48.

The published version is available at Copyright © Gill et al.


Objectives: Pain and analgesic requirements after functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) vary widely. This study aims to quantify pain after routine FESS and determine the most commonly used pain management regimen.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of 100 patients who underwent FESS from Oct 2017 to May 2019. Patients prospectively completed a daily pain diary and reported pain levels that were categorized into no pain (0), mild (1-3), moderate (4-7), or severe (8-10). Patients were categorized into narcotics, non-narcotics, combination, or none based on type of analgesic used.

Results: Sixty-nine patients were included. Majority of patients reported either mild (39%) or no pain (28%) during the first 5 PODs. Mean POD1 pain score was 3.98, which decreased with each subsequent POD. On POD1, 37% used opioids (n = 37), 32% used non-opioids (n = 32), 22% used a combination (n = 22), and 9% used no pain meds (n = 9). Mean number of narcotic pills used within the first 5 PODs was 2 pills on any given day. Age was inversely associated with reported POD1 pain scores (P = .003) and use of preoperative steroids in patients with sinonasal polyposis was associated with lower POD1 pain scores (P = .03).

Conclusions: Even on POD1, majority of patients experienced either mild or no pain, and this decreases with each POD. Narcotics are grossly overprescribed and underutilized by patients postoperatively after FESS. We advocate for more judicious prescribing habits of narcotics by Otolaryngologists after FESS, and emphasize relying on non-narcotic alternatives like Acetaminophen or NSAIDS to diminish narcotic use and abuse in the postoperative period.

Level of Evidence: 4.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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